What the hell, is "HELL"? (& Who's Gonna be There):
"A curse is on you, scribes and Pharisees(Self professed religious experts), false ones! For you are like the resting-places of the dead, which are made white, and seem beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men's bones and of all unclean things. Even so you seem to men to be full of righteousness, but inside you are all false and full of wrongdoing. You snakes, offspring of snakes, how will you be kept from the punishment of hell?" - Jesus
"And be not afraid of those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul; but fear rather him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." - Jesus
"However, a number even of the rulers had belief in him(in Jesus), but because of the Pharisees they did not say so openly for fear that they might be shut out from the Synagogue" - Apostle John
The Jesus of the Scripture vs. the "Jesus" of religion:
Jesus made some notable observations about the RELIGIOUS LEADERS of his day. He basically observed that they had their own little cliques that were steeped in hypocrisy and that the power they had over people who were in the religious circles they controlled was substantial. He also observed that they excluded from the "circle" people who professed a belief that Jesus was 'the way'. What amazes me is that nothing has changed in 2000+ years.
Have you been shut out?
Whether you've been "shunned", "disfellowshipped", "quietly handed your hat", etc., -- because you took a stand that you believed to be the right one (because you found a teaching of Jesus that grated against the flow of your denomination) then be of good cheer; -- for this is how religion has always treated the disciples of the "real Jesus". If you're outside of religion's "clique", then you're probably close to His. See, the evil called religion will always expel the "infidel". Consider what it did to Jesus!
Evil doesn't like to be questioned. It expects you to trust its credentials over the substance of fact; -- & it condescends evidence that exposes it - as "frivolous". It does not like independent analysis. Evil hates real knowledge; -- which is why "religion" builds it's house on the worship of "irresolvable mysteries"...
I attended conservative churches my entire life. Often, such churches cite a story Jesus told about a man who went to hell -- as a warning about hell. I may have heard the story a dozen or so times. Fundamentalists seem fixated on it. It's a shame they don't understand it. For if they did, most would realize that the account presents them with a serious problem.
Which Man are You?
The account of Lazarus & the 'Rich man' begs a question. Which are you? Do you believe that you are part of a group that sets you apart unto God? So did the Rich man. The church-going mobster is in a deep delusion. A man in a robe doesn't pull weight with God (who judges impartially). It has been my lifelong observation that any religious man who rises within the ranks of politics usually rides on the crest of a hidden evil wave. The Founders of the US Constitution & Government considered government to be a relentless potential evil that needed to be subdued & chained down by the highest Law. Their judgment was right; - And any man who purports that government can be a trusted, altruistic comforter is deluded & has no place in lawful governance.
We live in a world where people are constantly trying to use others (whom they deem an expendable means to their end) to accomplish petty goals. In the USA, where almost everyone is "rich" by world standards, we have made religious-politics into such a hybrid that many so called "churches" are government regulated corporations [501(c)(3)'s]. Corporations are creatures of the state (beasts). Jesus said that you cannot serve both God & money; -- yet serving money is precisely what is required of a 501(c)(3) corporation: A meticulous accounting of every penny! And what have been the topics of recent discussions in the USA? Government funding of "religious organizations" to provide social services. And, despite the fact that the Supreme Court of the US has already affirmed that marriage is a RIGHT of the common law; -- We find that men wagging their tax-deductible religious literature in one hand & the Constitution in the other - want to amend the latter to conform to their prejudices on what "marriage" should be. It is written: "Give no belief to false words: because there will first be a falling away from the faith, and the revelation of the man of sin (ש), the son of destruction, Who puts himself against all authority, lifting himself up over all which is named God or is given worship; so that he takes his seat in the Temple of God, putting himself forward as God." The text goes on to describe what I believe is an apt description of westernized fundamentalism (among other things): "And with every deceit of wrongdoing among those whose fate is destruction; because they were quite without that love of the true faith by which they might have salvation. And for this cause, God will give them up to the power of deceit and they will put their faith in what is false: So that they all may be judged, who had no faith in what is true, but took pleasure in evil." - 2nd Thess (Of course, this describes anyone who lives only to please himself!)
|Whether a racist, elitist, or sexist:
Paul wrote that all such causes of division were nullified in Christ (Gal 3:28). Therefore, if you live in opposition to the principle -- then you live in opposition to the gospel itself.
I live in a nation where immigrants are often ill treated, exploited & underpaid. Sorry, you can't be a disciple of Yeshua & act that way. People are not an expendable means to your end. Love works no ill.
I live in a nation where religious groups spend great amounts of effort trying to figure out who it's OK to hate. They pour money into legislation & smear campaigns. In the 1960's, it was about race. Baptists, Methodists, Mormon, etc -- all supporting segregation. We shouldn't be surprised: Simply their true colors <pun> showing. But, - love works no ill.
Today, similar groups repeat the folly on the issue of gender. First by supporting the oppression of women, & likewise, - the oppression of people based on who they intimately bond with. If there is no male & female in Christ -- then the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself in love (& love works no ill). Men are of (1) flesh. It's ALL 'HOMO'.
In the time of Jesus, Judaism had devolved into something that was but an evil shadow of the greatness it had been established to be. It was controlled by elitists (like the rich man in the story Jesus told) who knew how to deceive the masses with their show of "righteousness". As a naive child, I would not have believed that men like the popular church figures of the day were preaching a "DIFFERENT JESUS" than the one in the Scripture. However, as I have matured in my personal understanding of these matters, it has become obvious the "switcharoo" that is pulled by such men. They talk ABOUT the Jesus of the Scripture ... but then their "theology" turns back toward a self-serving, selective & sloppy use of the Law of Moses. After studying the issue for several years now, I find it astonishing that these groups seem fixated on what they call "The Homosexual Issue", when the Scripture knows nothing of "Homosexuality" - & the Law of Moses even forbids using such a word to label people with in the first place! To the best of my knowledge, g0ys.org is the only website on the planet that makes the distinction between same gender attractions vs. the practice of anal*sex -- in a proper theological context. The distinction is literally the difference between life & death. Drawing this distinction exposes the rampant evil of baseless prejudice that has swallowed the major religious denominations on the planet; -- & failure to draw it results in evil practices, prejudices & hypocrisy that characterize both the left & the right secular & religious realms.
So, you don't want to end like the rich man in the account above?
Act 10:1Now there was a certain man in Caesarea, named Cornelius, the captain of the Italian band of the army;
Act 10:2A serious-minded man, fearing God with all his family; he gave much money to the poor, and made prayer to God at all times.
Act 10:3He saw in a vision, clearly, at about the ninth hour of the day, an angel of the Lord coming to him and saying to him, Cornelius!
Act 10:4And he, looking on him in fear, said, What is it, Lord? And he said to him, Your prayers and your offerings have come up to God, and he has kept them in mind.
Act 10:5Now send men to Joppa, and get one Simon, named Peter,
Act 10:6Who is living with Simon, a leather-worker, whose house is by the sea.
Act 10:7And when the angel who said these words to him had gone away, he sent for two of his house-servants, and a God-fearing man of the army, one of those who were waiting on him at all times;
Act 10:8And having given them an account of everything, he sent them to Joppa.
Act 10:9Now the day after, when they were on their journey and were near the town, Peter went up to the top of the house for prayer, about the sixth hour:
Act 10:10And he was in need of food: but while they were getting it ready, a deep sleep came on him;
Act 10:11And he saw the heavens opening, and a vessel coming down, like a great cloth let down on the earth,
Act 10:12In which were all sorts of beasts and birds.
Act 10:13And a voice came to him, saying, Come, Peter; take them for food.
Act 10:14But Peter said, No, Lord; for I have never taken food which is vulgar -- unlawful for a Jew to eat.
Act 10:15And the voice came to him a second time, What God has made clean, do not call 'vulgar'.
Act 10:16And this was done three times: and then the vessel was taken back into heaven.
Act 10:17Now while Peter was in doubt as to the purpose of this vision, the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made search for Simon's house, came to the door,
Act 10:18To see if Simon, named Peter, was living there.
Act 10:19And, while Peter was turning the vision over in his mind, the Spirit said to him, See, three men are looking for you.
Act 10:20Go down, then, and go with them, doubting nothing, for I have sent them.
Act 10:21And Peter went down to the men, and said, I am the man you are looking for: why have you come?
Act 10:22And they said, Cornelius, a captain, an upright and God-fearing man, respected by all the nation of the Jews, had word from God by an angel to send for you to his house, and to give hearing to your words.
Act 10:23So he took them in for the night. And the day after, he went with them, taking some of the brothers from Joppa with him.
Act 10:24And the day after that, they came to Caesarea. And Cornelius was waiting for them, having got together his relations and his near friends.
Act 10:25And when Peter came in, Cornelius came to him and, falling down at his feet, gave him worship.
Act 10:26But Peter, lifting him up, said, Get up, for I am a man as you are.
Act 10:27And saying these words, he went in, and saw that a great number of people had come together;
Act 10:28And he said to them, You yourselves have knowledge that it is against our Jewish law for a man who is a Jew to be in the company of one who is of another nation (g0y); but God has made it clear to me that no man may be named common or unclean:
Act 10:29And so I came without question, when I was sent for. What then is your purpose in sending for me?
Act 10:30And Cornelius said, Four days from now I was in my house in prayer at the ninth hour; and I saw before me a man in shining clothing,
Act 10:31Who said, Cornelius, your prayer has come to the ears of God, and your offerings are kept in his memory.
Act 10:32Send, then, to Joppa, and get Simon, named Peter, to come to you; he is living in the house of Simon, a leather-worker, by the sea.
Act 10:33So, straight away, I sent for you; and you have done well to come. And now, we are all present before God, ready to give attention to all the things which the Lord has given you to say.
Act 10:34Then Peter said, Truly, I see clearly that God is no respecter of persons:
Act 10:35But in every nation, the man who has fear of him and does righteousness is pleasing to him.
Act 10:36The word which he sent to the children of Israel, giving the good news of peace through Jesus Christ who is Lord of all--
Act 10:37That word you yourselves have knowledge of, which was made public through all Judaea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism of which John was the preacher,
Act 10:38About Jesus of Nazareth, how God gave the Holy Spirit to him, with power: and how he went about doing good and making well all who were troubled by evil spirits, for God was with him.
Act 10:39And we are witnesses of all the things which he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem; whom they put to death, hanging him on a tree.
Act 10:40On the third day God gave him back to life, and let him be seen,
Act 10:41Not by all the people, but by witnesses marked out before by God, even by us, who took food and drink with him after he came back from the dead.
Act 10:42And he gave us orders to give news of this to the people, and to give public witness that this is he whom God has made judge of the living and the dead.
Act 10:43To him all the prophets give witness, that through his name everyone who has faith in him will have forgiveness of sins.
Act 10:44While Peter was saying these words, the Holy Spirit came on all those who were hearing the word.
Act 10:45And the Jews of the faith, who had come with Peter, were full of wonder, because the Holy Spirit was given to the Gentiles,
Act 10:46And they were talking in tongues, and giving glory to God. Then Peter said,
Act 10:47Will any man say that these may not have baptism who have been given the Holy Spirit as we have?
Act 10:48And he gave orders for them to have baptism in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they kept him with them for some days.
Then Follow the Example of Those who Warranted God's Attention...